HAYES Is “All In”: An Interview with the Hottest New EDM Artist

Reigning from Oslo, Norway, HAYES is the actor diving into the EDM world and taking the music world with one huge wave. His first single, “Where I Belong” with Nico & Vinz was a huge hit. Most recently he released “Fuck This Place Up,” a track with Swedish singer/songwriter Wiktoria and Chicago rapper Famous Dex.

The young music and TV star hasn’t taken long to make an impression. After his work on Skam, a Norwegian teen drama web series that ran from 2015 to 2017 for over 40 episodes, HAYES is now moving up the EDM scene.

His first single was also his big hit: “Where I Belong,” a serene but moving track with Nico & Vinz, that came out in August in 2019. He followed that with “Now Or Never” a track with Mugisho, and a remix of Norwegian rapper Arif’s “Hver Er Hun,” and had his own song Now Or Never” remixed by EDM dynamic duo, Cazzette.

Now, HAYES is back in 2020 with another collaborative track and hit: “Fuck This Place,” a track featuring Famous Dex and Wiktoria.

In an email via interview, he talked about making this track and the importance of collaboration for his music, his quick success in music, and hw music is “international.”

1. Skam ended a couple of years ago, have you been that time preparing and setting yourself up for a career in music? How and when did you get into music? 

There were a lot of opportunities after Skam, and I did some more acting. However, I have always been into music, without thinking of it as a potential career, so when I was approached by Sony Music I was very curious. And it just grew into an all-consuming project for me. I tend to go “all in”.

2. Will music be your sole focus now or is acting still on the table?

I’ve not given up acting, but wanted to focus 100% on music.

3. I read somewhere that you’re half-British and half-Norwegian. Is this true? Can you talk a little about growing up and how you gravitated to the arts in general? Where are you based out of now?

That’s correct. My dad is British and my mum Norwegian. I grew up in Norway, but have spent quite a bit of time in the UK. I had a typically Norwegian upbringing with lots of outdoor activities in the mountains, forests and on the fjord. I would have described myself as active and athletic rather than artistic as I was very into sports, but I have always loved music and used it to enhance or change my moods. I also loved films and TV shows, and guess I’m pretty open minded when it comes to “the arts”. I’m currently based in Oslo, just a 30 minute drive from where I grew up.

 4. Your music has a smoothe serene sound, at least so far. Which artists influenced you, what are you aiming at for or with your music? 

Thank you! I always find it difficult to name artists who influence me, as I would almost pick a different one any given day. What they have in common is that they create music that makes me feel something, that I connect with, so it’s not just the beat, but the whole package. 

5. Your debut single “Where I Belong” came out a few months ago and has already been streamed so many times; how have you felt about it? How does it feel to have put out now two songs (now three with the newest one and have them doing so well? 

I didn’t know what to expect so everything has just been an adventure. I’ve had so much positive feedback, and the fact that people connect with, and support, my music makes me feel very happy!

6. “Where I Belong” was with Nico & Vinz, and this newer single “Now or Never” was with Mugisho and now “FTPU” with Wiktoria and Famous Dex; is collaborating really important? Is it about finding some guidance early in your music career or is it more about working with artists that you admire and whose music you like? 

Collaborations are inspiring, and brings different things to different songs. I’m learning as I go along, so working with other songwriters and producers is essential. Also, I don’t sing so – much like other production/DJ-type artists – I need someone with great vocals to do the song justice. So for me it’s a mix of guidance and input, and working with artists I like.

“Fuck This Place Up” single cover artwork.

7. Specifically, what was it like working with artists that weren’t Norwegian? What was it like working with Famous Dex and Wiktoria, did you work with them closely or was it more of a everybody works on their stuff and then you put it together?  

Music is international, so the main difference is that when I don’t know the artist I can’t just ask them if they “want to come out and play”. So, with Wiktoria and Famous Dex my team contacted their teams etc. They got the track and then sent their stuff over. I never met Famous Dex, but I’ve hung out with Wiktoria and she is as fun as she is talented and I hope we get to perform the song live together!

8. You stated that you really wanted female vocals for this track and it seems like you had a clear vision for it. What was your inspiration behind “FTPU”? 

My previous songs have had deeper and more meaningful lyrics, but what I loved about FTPU was the energy. Male vocals sounded cool, but perhaps a bit too aggressive? Either way it just sounded right with powerful female vocals. 

9. The Cazzette remix of “Now Or Never” only came out a few weeks ago and is doing really well. What does being remixed by Cazzette so early on mean to you? 

Being remixed is really cool. Being remixed by Cazzette is amazing!

10. What can we expect from HAYES going forward? Are there any immediate plans, like touring, festivals, an album, etc. etc? 

All I can tell you is that there will be more music!

11. Three singles in, what should the world know about HAYES? 

I’m not in it to win it, but to learn, create and have a good time. Disclaimer. This does not apply to soccer.

12. Any other comments about “FTPU,” your transition into music, Skam, life in general? 

Look for opportunities, not problems. Try to keep an open mind. Never hit the snooze-button more than twice. And wash your hands!

By Antonio Villaseñor-Baca

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